Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Valentine Box

This is more than a Valentine's Day story. It is a story of hope...of truth...of healing of a wounded heart.

The Valentine Box

by Debbie Guinn

©February 2008

Julia was so excited! Tomorrow was Valentine’s Day and she was going to her very first Valentine party. She had been looking forward to this party for weeks and had long ago picked out her favorite pink dress to wear for this very special occasion. Julia sat at the table, diligently working on her Valentine Box, carefully cutting and placing each heart and paper doily in just the right spot. She knew that all the other little girls at the party would be far prettier than she would, but hoped that nobody would come close to having as beautiful of a Valentine Box. She would be certain to win not only the prize for the best decorated box, but the admiration of all the other children as they dropped their Valentine cards into her prized box.

As she was changing into her pajamas that evening, Julia noticed that she felt achy and it hurt to swallow. She knew what that meant, for she had been through many bouts of the dreaded strep throat in her life. Not wanting to miss the party the next day, Julia didn’t dare let her parents know how she was feeling. She knelt beside her bed, and silently said her prayers, pleading with God to make her sore throat go away by morning.

However, the next morning Julia felt even worse than the night before. Determined to go to the party, she put on her pretty pink dress, grabbed her Valentine Box and headed to the kitchen for breakfast. She tried hard not to talk because she knew that would be a dead give away. Her mother could always tell when Julia had strep throat by the way she talked. Then it happened…Julia’s mother asked her a question and before she realized it, she had spoken. Her secret was out. After feeling her forehead and examining her throat, Julia was sent back to bed.

She hung her pink dress back on its hanger, the tears burning in her eyes, as she realized that there would be no party, no prize for the best decorated Valentine Box, and the only sweets she would get that day would be the grape juice her mother was sure to force down her. Julia could not remember ever feeling so crushed and disappointed. She crawled into bed, clutching her empty Valentine Box…desperately longing to go to the party and fill her box with cards and lollipops from all her friends.

Julia thought the day could not get any worse…she was wrong. Later that day, something happened…something that would change Julia’s life forever…something so horrible, causing Julia such fear and shame, that she felt she could never, ever tell anybody about it. So, Julia took the shattered pieces of her heart and placed them into her Valentine Box. It would be her secret forever. After all, who would ever look in a stupid Valentine Box.

As the years went on, Julia would go through many horrific events, similar to the one she went through that awful Valentine’s Day. Each time, she would quietly tuck the additional broken pieces of her heart into her Valentine Box, always too afraid and much too ashamed to tell anybody what had happened…not even God.

Julia believed in God. She had given her heart to Him as a child. She knew that He loved her, and Oh, how she loved Him. She longed to climb up in His lap and let Him cradle her in His arms and wipe away all her tears. However, Julia had been told many lies that caused her to believe that she could never let Him see the secrets tucked away in her Valentine Box. Hence, every time Julia would think about climbing up into her Father God’s outstretched arms, she was hindered by her box. She didn’t dare set it down, lest somebody come by and open it, discovering all her shameful secrets. She couldn’t keep it with her for fear God would ask her what was in it. She certainly didn’t hand it to God to hold, out of fear the lid might fall off.

Day after day, year after year, Julia would walk up to her Father’s chair, look up at Him, and sadly walk away, clutching her box ever so tightly. One day, Julia walked up to her Abba Father, looked up at Him, and with tears streaming down her face, she handed Him her box. Her loving Father took the box with one hand and with the other hand, He reached down and scooped up His precious child and cuddled her in His loving arms.

After what seemed like hours of just resting in the comfort and safety of His arms, she bravely took the lid off of the box and one by one showed Him each of the filthy, ugly, tattered “valentines” that she had placed in her box over the years. One by one, Julia told Him every detail – where she got it, who gave it to her, and how it had nearly destroyed her. Then she placed it in her Father’s hands.

Each time Julia handed her Father one of her “valentines”, He took it, folded it, then set it aside. When the box was empty, the Father picked up all the pieces that had just minutes before been so ugly and torn. Julia watched in amazement as He pieced them together and handed her the most beautiful white rose she had ever seen. In amazement, Julia took the rose and, upon closer examination, discovered that each of the pure white petals had something written on them.

“I have redeemed YOU, I have called YOU by name, Julia, YOU are MINE.”

“YOU are my bride, blameless and pure.”

“I love YOU with an everlasting love.”

“I loved YOU enough to send my son to die for YOU.”

“My love for YOU is wider, longer, higher, deeper than anything you could ever imagine.”

“Even if the mountains shake and the hills disappear, my unfailing love for YOU will never be shaken and I will never break my promise of peace to YOU.”

“Nothing can ever separate you from my love for YOU”

“I have never abandoned YOU and I never will.”

“I turned my back on my Son, so that I would never have to turn my back on YOU.”

“Love ME, Julia, as I have loved YOU.”

Julia looked down and discovered that the well-worn sweats and stained t-shirt she had been wearing, just moments earlier, were gone, replaced with a freshly pressed, spotless, white gown. She took her Rose of Truth and placed it in her Valentine Box. Then she curled up in her Daddy’s lap and drifted off into the most peaceful sleep she had ever known.


Lelia Chealey said...

Hi Debbie!
So nice to "meet" you. Thanks for commenting on my blog. I hope you come back soon. :) You mentioned you did't know how to subscribe...on my blog on the right side there's a place to do that. All you have to do is enter your e-mail address, then click on "Subscribe me". Pretty simple. :)
Sweet Valentine story on your post. I enjoyed reading that.

Cheri said...

What a great story of hope!
I came here by way of the comment you left on "a planting of the Lord."
So sad how children are treated by their peers.You just don't get what it can do to a person until you're much older.
Welcome to blogspot!!

Michelle Bingham said...

Hi Debbie! I wanted to thank you for your encouragement on my weight loss. It sounds like you have done an AMAZING job! I am glad I found your site. I look forward to reading more on your blog!

kmom3 said...

Hi, Debbie!
It is always so nice to meet new ladies out in the world of blogging! Thanks for coming by my place! I came by here earlier, but was interrupted by cute little ladies! So I am just now getting back to comment. :)
I love the things that were written on the rose! Beautiful! God's love is so amazing to me!

MrsJoeB said...

Hello Debbie-thank you for visiting my blog and I do hope you were blessed. Your story here is IS a beautiful reminder of what God can do with our scars!! Keep in touch!
In His Graces~Pamela

Melissa said...


What a beautiful story! I stopped by to visit you blog because you posted on mine for the first time today. I was so blessed by your words!

I'm so glad that you are using your gift for God's glory. Keep it up, you are truly a gifted writer.